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Imps to suffer an attack of the gremlins at Sincil Bank tomorrow
at 23:48 20 Apr 2018

JM now knows one thing for certain, the U’s will be gracing league Two again next season (their third in succession). Home defeats to Accrington and the U’s bogey team Notts County have left the mathematically impossible target of only 70 points for the U’s, which sadly will not be enough.

Once again, we will be short by perhaps up to 5 points and that is hardly progress on last season.

Most disappointing for me of course was the expectation that the impossible was on after the Forest Green victory but the failings at home this season have let us down at key times.

Of course, the play offs were not lost last weekend, but immediately after the Coventry victory, when we put in such an insipid performance at Gresty Road. The club never recovered and although we flattered to deceive, we have simply not been good enough when it matters.

Tomorrow we travel to Sincil Bank Lincoln to play the Cowley brothers side who have just beaten Shrewsbury Town (now falling like a lead balloon at the moment after their Checkatrade defeat to the Imps) and sit in sixth place on 68 points from 42 games.

Earlier in the season we won 1-0 at the WHCS and a similar result tomorrow would begin to restore some pride after falling short of our Play Off target. It will of course be a difficult game in front of 9,000 Imps, but all the pressure is now on Lincoln and we have nothing to play for except pride and the opportunity to prove to the faithful that we are capable of getting a result against a potential promotion worthy team.

The recriminations for this failure to challenge for promotion will begin after the Exeter game. Suffice to say, a return of 52 goals from 43 games is poor and most of the reason why we have come up short. Defensively only 49 goals conceded is a strong indicator that our defence has been sound, and it is our inability to win more games that has cost us the opportunity to achieve promotion.

Tomorrow is also not about rebuilding for next season, it is all about securing the points to finish the season strongly.

There will be plenty of time to consider how the team will shape up next season, especially with contracts still to be signed by Walker, Dickenson, Prosser, Lapslie, Wright and Vincent-Young. All of whom we will need (and some new faces) if we harbour belief that we can achieve promotion for the third time of asking.

Some good news Courtney Senior has agreed another two-year deal at the club.

Regarding the team for the Lincoln match, we know that both Dickenson and Lapslie are still unfit and may not play again this season. I am neither a suspicious nor a sceptical person but if I wanted to ensure that both players would appear for Colchester next season, I would make sure that they both stayed “injured” for the final games of the season.

JM must therefore play a strong team to look to secure the maximum points at Sincil Bank.

Walker

Eastman Prosser Kent

Jackson Comley Stevenson Vincent-Young

Szmodics Mandron Senior

Subs:

Barnes Shodipo Wright Murray Ogedi-Uzokwe Loft Inniss

I mentioned a couple of games ago that I felt sorry for Frankie Kent because he was only out of the team for tactical reasons. Well tomorrow JM will revert to a 3,4,3 formation to combat the physical Impish forward line.

The weather tomorrow in Lincoln will be hot - around 20 degrees Celsius and sunny intervals interspersed with cloudy spells. Plenty of fluids will be the order of the day both for the faithful and for the players!

The fayre is in town and so despite the 9,000 crowd at Sincil Bank, car parking will be at a premium around the stadium. Get there early is the call to the faithful.

Safe journey to the travelling supporters.

Enjoy the game and let us record another double this season.

Up the U’s


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Definitely time to clip the Magpie's wings tomorrow
at 22:42 13 Apr 2018

Four games, 12 points to give a maximum total 73 – 7th place – Simples!

That is the challenge awaiting JM and his charges, ahead of a difficult game against the Magpies this weekend. Notts County under Kevin Nolan looked odds on for one of the automatic places but have “slumped” to fifth place after some inconsistent results.

After tomorrow they have Yeovil, Grimsby and Luton, suggesting that they will finish in the Play Offs with 76 points.

Notts County have three formidable strikers in Jon Stead, Shola Ameobi and Jonathan Forte, but Nolan has not managed to get the best combination to play of late and hopefully that will continue tomorrow.

The U’s were frankly robbed of at least a point at Meadow Lane and we should be trying to make amends for that injustice at the WHCS on Saturday.

Results mid-week went for the U’s with neither Swindon nor Mansfield managing to pick up more than one point and on Saturday there are yet more intriguing games:

Accrington v Exeter – The Reds to deservedly clinch the league with another home win
Luton v Crewe – Can the Railwaymen spring a surprise at Kenilworth Road, I hope so
Port Vale v Lincoln – I can’t see anything but PV rolling over against the Imps, sadly
Yeovil v Wycombe – Perhaps the beast might fall awkwardly and cause a seismic shift in Somerset
Crawley v Coventry – Can Harry Kewell cause an upset, we all hope so, I loathe Coventry
Chesterfield v Mansfield – The Stags are in free fall and the bright lights of Chez Vegas will be their downfall in another shock result
Newport v Swindon – The Rodney Parade pitch has been their undoing of late, but can they sneak a point
Morecambe v Carlisle - The Shrimps squandered the luxury of a two-goal lead midweek, can’t see them getting much against the Cumbrians

So much for the other games, its all about the three points to keep our season alive. Cole Kpekawa has left the club by mutual consent. No great surprise there, he wasn’t able to hold down a regular place in the team. We wish him well for the future.

The big talking point this week however is whether Brennan Dickenson and Tom Lapslie can be ruled fit to play. I suspect that neither will start however. Providing we win tomorrow, we will need both for the BIG, BIG game at Sincil Bank next weekend.

JM must go with his strongest and most attacking team from the outset. With Lapslie and Dickenson on the bench and hopefully both to get some game time, then he must play as follows:

Walker

Jackson Eastman Prosser Vincent-Young

Wright Comley Stevenson Senior

Szmodics Mandron

Subs:
Murray Ogedi-Uzokwe Kent Loft Barnes Dickenson Lapslie

Let Kane Vincent-Young push forward when he can, he has a couple of goals in him.

Accrington 40 83
Luton 42 80
Wycombe 41 74
Exeter 41 72
Notts Co 42 70
Lincoln 40 67
Coventry 41 65
Mansfield 42 64
Swindon 42 64
Carlisle 42 61
COL U 42 61

The weather in Colchester is set for 11 degrees Celsius with some cloud and occasional sunny intervals.

Pitch should be pretty decent.

The crowd will hover around the 3,500-mark depending on how many travel from Nottingham.

The faithful can play a big part tomorrow to cheer the side to three vital points.

Enjoy the game

Up the U’s

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All change at Poorman Road
at 10:41 11 Apr 2018

McCarthy leaves immediately after "epic" win over Barnsley.

Geraint (George) Williams to assist Bryan Klug for final four games.

Will they yet come knocking for JM in May.

The truth is out there!

Up the U's
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Tonight's games
at 20:16 10 Apr 2018

Early advantage for Stevenage at home to Mansfield 1-0

Similarly Swindon at home to Yeovil 1-0

Yeovil Town need an equaliser - a point each is ideal

Up the U's
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So has anything really changed today in League Two
at 23:21 7 Apr 2018

So, we lost a keenly contested football match to the Arsenal of the North, Accrington Stanley and Billy Kee was delighted that the parry from Sam Walker bounced up and ricocheted off his knee into an unguarded net.

Accrington Stanley thoroughly deserve to win the league and to be promoted. They can clinch everything next week when they despatch Exeter City at the Wham Stadium.

The only disappointment for the Reds has to be that only 208 of their faithful turned up at the WHCS to witness their latest 1-0 shutout in crowd of 3,174.

We remain four points off the play offs with one fewer game to play.

Accrington 40 83
Luton 42 80
Wycombe 41 74
Exeter 41 72
Notts Co 42 70
Lincoln City 40 67
Coventry 41 65

Mansfield 41 63
Swindon 41 63
Carlisle 42 61
COL U 42 61

We can still obtain 73 points which would have to be enough, but we now need to win four cup finals: Notts Co H, Lincoln A, Swindon H Exeter A

Until mathematically impossible we must still believe.

Now for the gripes. JM was again without Tom Lapslie and Brennan Dickenson (both injured) and not his fault but.................

However why does he persist in playing Mandeville (sub again today) when Junior was again warming the bench and has mustered about as much game time as Macca Bonne?

Notts Co are next in town, they are struggling of late (despite their narrow win over the Sky Blues today) and must be seen off next Saturday. Then comes the most intriguing game of the season against the Imps.

Swindon will be defeated and then St James’ Park Exeter may decide our fate.

Interesting times.

Up the U’s


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Cardiff City penalties tonight
at 21:51 6 Apr 2018

Wolves 1-0 up and Mike Dean awarded the bluebirds two pens in added time and they missed them both.

In fairness Wolves looked good value for the win.

Up the U's
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Super U's to eclipse Accrington (who are they!) on Saturday
at 16:03 6 Apr 2018

This weekend sees an intriguing clash at the WHCS between the Promotion and League Title favourites and the momentum fuelled JM inspired Super U’s.

In truth it could be argued that there is a battle between two Colemans within football at present. John is taking his Stanley charges up to league One, whilst Chris is dragging his Black Cats down to League One. This of course will be an interesting scenario next season with the Stadium of Light potentially housing in one game more than have seen Accrington play all season at the Crown Ground (Wham Stadium). But that in essence is the beauty of football, with David versus Goliath occasions playing throughout the Leagues.

Accrington Stanley of course are the club who refused to die and are worthy Champions elect. They have won 14 out of their last 16 games and already have 80 points on the board after 39 games.

Earlier in the season we were abject whilst losing 3-1 to the Reds and we lined up as follows that afternoon:

Walker
Eastman Kent James
Jackson Lapslie Murray Slater Wright
Johnstone Mandron
Subs:
Gilmartin Vincent-Young O’Sullivan Issa Kpekawa Szmodics Kinsella

Only six of that starting XI are likely to run out on Saturday which shows how the team has changed and evolved over the season.

Now their Owner Andy Holt has just been cleared to continue buying the £200 worth of McDonald’s for the players when they win a game. Well Andy there will be no burgers for your team this Saturday in Colchester, save them for Exeter City on the following Saturday at the Wham.

The Reds will also welcome back first choice goal keeper Aaron Chapman after his car accident en route to the home match against Notts County last Monday in front of 3,039.

I do not need to mention Billy Kee after my posts about him before the start of this season but arguably Kayden Jackson is also a real goal threat.

All this of course is coffee house crap, nothing matters but the 90+ minutes on Saturday afternoon when we go toe to toe against the surprise side this season. JM knows that although talk of the play offs is still premature he must be thinking that we have a great chance and indeed another 5 victories will confirm our place. 76 points might even secure sixth spot but lets only worry about seventh place for now.

The problem is that we still have niggling injury worries: Dickenson and Lapslie remain doubts and Drey Wright limped off at FGR on Easter Monday.

JM is the home side and he will want to strike early (another 16 second goal wouldn’t go amiss) If everyone is fit then he will line up 4,4,2:

Walker

Jackson Eastman Prosser Vincent-Young

Wright* Comley Stevenson Dickenson*

Szmodics Mandron

Subs:

Barnes Murray Shodipo Senior Ogedi-Uzokwe Kent Loft

Of course, if neither Marmite* nor Dickenson or Wright can play then Senior* and Comley* will play as at FGR, perhaps with Shodipo getting another outing dependent upon Loft’s fitness.

I was impressed with young Shodipo on Monday and so JM does have options. Ben Stevenson is simply sublime.

This is the biggest game of the season for many reasons, three points will keep the run going and bring the play offs closer, whilst sending out a message to the four remaining sides that we still have to play that we mean business.

Accrington Stanley have become the Arsenal of years ago with so many 1-0 victories recorded. They will be no push overs and it is to Coleman’s credit that they have beaten all before them when it has mattered. He has of course just secured the Manager of the Month award, which as we all know carries a curse with it.

Colchester’s weather will be a balmy 16 degrees Celsius on Saturday with some cloud. A decent crowd will be there for this one. Hopefully 4,500 including 500 from Lancashire.

5 Cup finals

Accrington H
Notts Co H
Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

League table:

Accrington 39 80
Luton 41 77
Wycombe 41 74
Exeter 40 69
Notts Co 41 67
Lincoln 40 67
Coventry 40 65
Mansfield 40 63
Swindon 40 62
COL U 41 61

Enjoy the game

Keep the faith – the Play Offs are within touching distance

Up the U’s


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2017/18 League 2 - the remaining matches that matter!
at 15:48 4 Apr 2018

League Two Promotion Candidates Remaining Fixtures as at 4th April:

Accrington Stanley 39 80

COL U Saturday April 7th Away
Exeter Saturday April 14th Home
Yeovil Tuesday April 17th Home
Wycombe Saturday April 21st Away
Newport Tuesday April 24th Away
Lincoln Saturday April 28th Home
Swindon Saturday May 5th Away

Luton 41 77

Yeovil Saturday April 7th Away
Crewe Saturday April 14th Home
Carlisle Saturday April 21st Away
FGR Saturday April 28th Home
Notts Co Saturday May 5th Away

Wycombe 41 74

Yeovil Saturday April 14th Away
Lincoln Tuesday April 17th Away
Accrington Saturday April 21st Home
Chesterfield Saturday April 28th Away
Stevenage Saturday May 5th Home

Exeter 40 69

Cambridge Saturday April 7th Away
Accrington Saturday April 14th Away
Chesterfield Tuesday April 17th Home
Crawley Saturday April 21st Home
Stevenage Saturday April 28th Away
COL U Saturday May 5th Home

Notts Co 41 67

Coventry Saturday April 7th Home
COL U Saturday April 14th Away
Yeovil Saturday April 21st Home
Grimsby Saturday April 28th Away
Luton Saturday May 5th Home

Lincoln City 40 67

Shrewsbury Checkatrade Final Wembley Sunday April 8th
Port Vale Saturday April 14th Away
Wycombe Tuesday April 17th Home
COL U Saturday April 21st Home
Coventry Tuesday April 24th Away
Accrington Saturday April 28th Away
Yeovil Saturday May 5th Home

Coventry 40 65

Notts Co Saturday April 7th Away
Crawley Saturday April14th Away
Stevenage Friday April 20th Home
Lincoln Tuesday April 24th Home
Cheltenham Saturday April 28th Away
Morecambe Saturday May 5th Home

Mansfield 40 63

Crewe Saturday April 7th Home
Stevenage Tuesday April 10th Away
Chesterfield Saturday April 14th Away
Port Vale Saturday April 21st Home
Yeovil Saturday April 28th Away
Crawley Saturday May 5th Home

Swindon 40 62

Carlisle Saturday April 7th Home
Yeovil Tuesday April 10th Home
Newport Saturday April 14th Away
Grimsby Saturday April 21st Home
COL U Saturday April 28th Away
Accrington Saturday May 5th Home

COL U 41 61

Cup finals shown below!

Carlisle 41 60

Swindon Saturday April 7th Away
Morecambe Saturday April 14th Away
Luton Saturday April 21st Home
Port Vale Saturday April 28th Away
Newport Saturday May 5th Home

Colchester supporters know that we are only aiming to catch the 7th placed team, which is likely to be one from Notts Co, Lincoln, Coventry or Exeter.

Colchester will usurp Notts Co for the seventh spot.

Accrington, Luton and Wycombe have secured the three automatic places with Mansfield, Swindon and Carlisle likely to fall away from contention altogether.

If we can keep this great unbeaten and winning run going then we can reach 76 points which will be enough for 7th place.

5 Cup finals:

Accrington H
Notts Co H
Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

Plenty to think about, but we do have momentum.

Keep the faith, we can do this.

Up the Super U’s


[Post edited 4 Apr 15:49]
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My thoughts on the U's latest triumph in Gloucestershire by Durham
at 19:10 3 Apr 2018

First a personal celebration, the end of the 3-year hoodoo without watching a U’s victory, brilliant!

Second just the 5 victories required now, and finally it was refreshing to see such a gutsy performance result in a well deserved victory against a decent home side.

A first for the U’s and for me another new ground, the New Lawn, home of Forest Green Rovers near Nailsworth in Gloucestershire. I had spent the Easter holidays in Telford with family and so the journey was only about 2 hours through Bridgnorth, Kidderminster and a brief journey along the M5 to Junction 13 and then a few minutes through some delightful Gloucestershire villages like Frocester and Nympsfield. The SATNAV taking me along single-track lanes affording spectacular scenic views across to the Severn Estuary and the weather a balmy 13 degrees Celsius with some bright sunshine. Mind you the flooding both in the fields and along the roadsides was severe. Just when I thought that I was hopelessly lost I came down a steepish hill and at the bottom was the Stadium.

Parking at the ground is restricted and so I parked at the Nailsworth School about 200 yards away. Parking was £5, and I arrived in good time to meet Wessex and his youngest son outside the ground.

The beer tent was just that, a medium sized marquee backing onto the North side of the stadium with Vegan lager and cider on offer. Next door was a stall selling Indian food – seitan, bhajis, wraps and pakoras, all vegan fare.

Now it was as well that the weather was Spring like and kind because the Western Terrace is uncovered and affords the Away supporter the ability to walk the length of the side of the pitch. I had to smile when one of the youngsters said, “it’s just like the old days”. I must admit that the ground is not dissimilar to Fleetwood, but their Away end does at least have some covered protection.

Arriving early did allow the opportunity to watch the players warm up fully and to see that unfortunately Marmite and Brennan Dickenson had not made the starting XI or the bench. Hopefully precautionary in the case of Dickenson. Comley and Senior ably deputised.

The crowd was 2,869 and an excellent 340 of the faithful had travelled.

The pitch was in remarkably good condition considering the amount of rain that had fallen. Some sand in the centre circle and it cut up near the penalty areas, but in fairness a decent surface.

Wessex had the inside info on the playing surface because he knows the Groundsman.

The referee Mr Huxtable cut an imposing and corpulent figure, he didn’t manage a great deal of box to box running if you catch my drift. A Devonian, he clearly has indulged (allegedly) in some Cream Teas over the years.

There is seating on the East side of the stadium where the main stand is located and along with the Western Terrace both ends are standing areas. Capacity is 5,000 with 2,000 seated.

JM was forced into the two changes as follows:

Walker

Jackson Eastman Prosser Vincent-Young

Wright Comley Stevenson Senior

Szmodics Mandron

Subs:

Murray Mandeville Shodipo Ogedi-Uzokwe Kent Loft Barnes

I have to say that I feel very sorry for Frankie Kent, the U’s young defender has done nothing wrong, but because of the formation changes (from 3 to 4 at the back) he has to sit it out on the bench. It was gratifying to see Doug Loft on the bench as well after his injury crises this season.

The players emerge from a breeze block building at the corner of the South and East stands and trek to the middle for the customary handshakes and preliminaries.

Now immediately the match started the breeze seemed to get up and seemed to blow across from East to West. There of course wasn’t time to think about anything because a flowing move involving Mandron out to Szmodics and then a cross to Drey Wright in the six-yard box resulted in the quickest goal that I have seen the U’s score for many a long time – just 19 seconds.

FGR were stunned, the faithful were ecstatic and I sensed another 5-1 scoreline. The U’s were on top, clever interchange play involving Jackson, Wright, Mandron and Szmodics almost resulted in a second goal (Szmodics volleying just over the bar) but we all opined that there were goals to be had.

Mandron struck a free kick from just outside the penalty area, the ball hit hard and low and it ballooned up and over the wall to be cleared by their defender close to the line.

Now of course FGR had won 6 out of the last 7 games at home and so would not lie down easily. However, Mr Huxtable offered them a lifeline after an earlier chance had been headed over Walkers goal by Campbell.

Haydn Hollis tumbled over in the penalty area after an innocuous challenge from Tom Eastman on 37 minutes. The referee couldn’t point to the spot quickly enough and the onerous Rueben Reid converted the penalty (his 14th goal of the season).

Injustice without doubt, Colchester had been the better side creating clear cut chances but failing to convert them. Now of course FGR had a purple patch and huffed and puffed in an attempt to open up the goal. It would have been harsh had they done so.

Half time arrived and the faithful were in good voice and I have to say that I didn’t hear any dissenting voices or foul and abusive language from the Away supporters.

JM was in animated conversation with the ref as they walked back to the changing rooms at half time. Doubtless debating the veracity of the penalty.

No changes were made at the interval. But just as they did in the first half Colchester came straight out of the traps. Mikael Mandron who covered ever blade of grass at the New Lawn passed inside to Ben Stevenson who was 35 yards out, he advanced to the right edge of the penalty area and struck a shot hard and low beyond the keeper Collins, the ball nestling in the corner of the left-hand side of the goal. It was a superb strike and thoroughly deserved.

One of the advantages of the close proximity to the pitch and the ability to walk from end to end is the opportunity to get close to the action. We all had a great view of the goal but also the play down the left win throughout the second half.

When top scorer for FGR Christian Doidge came off the bench on 56 mins for the unlucky Campbell, the home fans were stirred into life. JM decided on his first change after 69 minutes with Shodipo coming on for Courtney Senior. Senior had run himself into the ground and it was essentially a like for like swap. It was Colchester who really should have made it three a minute later after Wishart cleared off the line from Wright after Mandron’s shot had been blocked by Collins.

Drey Wright (note for Gerry) I have watched Wright recently at Morecambe and FGR and he is putting in a decent shift and deserved his goal. He was replaced by Sean Murray after 78 minutes.

The dangerous Doidge had the ball in the net on 86 minutes but was rightly adjudged to have fouled Eastman.

Now the fear was that Colchester would continue to drop deeper which is an old JM trick. Fortunately, we still foraged forward through the superb Stevenson, and the left sided players Vincent-Young, Shodipo and striker Mandron.

When Sammie Szmodics was replaced by Mandeville on 87 minutes, he received an ovation from the faithful for his commitment and effort to the cause.

The U’s played some really sensible football, running down the clock, delightful interchanges right in front of where we were standing involving Shodipo, Vincent-Young and Mandron took the pressure off the team whilst maintaining position near their corner flag. Some of the intricate movements were a joy to watch, particularly Vincent-Young’s footwork.

The referee managed to find 5 additional minutes during which the U’s avoided a scare when Grubb’s 95th minute free kick was well palmed around the post by Walker.

The final whistle was greeted with great celebrations by players and supporters alike. It was a deserved victory, the third in succession and first time since December 2016.

As Wessex said to me after the game, we did laugh when you suggested that we needed to win the last 8 matches for a Play Off berth ……………………. but now of course just the 5 will do!

Man of the Match for me was Ben Stevenson, he simply gets better and better every time I see him play. Rarely puts a pass astray, not afraid to challenge for the ball, a great football brain and makes really clever passes. His goal was sublime and his overall contribution to the team immense.

Eastman and Prosser are a defensive combination who complement each other very well whilst Mikael Mandron works tremendously hard for the team through covering every blade of grass, he ran himself into the ground for the team on Monday.

This Saturday offers a real test the League leaders at Fortress WHCS. Confidence levels are high, and momentum is with the U’s, it should be a cracker.

Just the five cup finals now!

Accrington H
Notts Co H
Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

Now just imagine if we win the next two home games and go to Lincoln seeking a sixth straight win. What a game that will be!

Anyway, one thing is for certain, we still need maximum points against Accrington and Notts County. Nothing has been achieved yet.

League standings:

Accrington 39 80
Luton 41 77
Wycombe 41 74
Exeter 40 69
Notts Co 41 67
Lincoln 40 67
Coventry 40 65
Mansfield 40 63
Swindon 40 62
COL U 41 61
Carlisle 41 60

Journey home was both satisfying and uneventful. I am of course still basking in the after match glow.

Bring on the leaders.

Up the U’s


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Carnivores to overcome the Herbivores at the New Lawn on Easter Monday
at 20:56 31 Mar 2018

Someone once said that a week was a long time in politics, well it can also be a game changer and with 7 points out of the last 9 the Super U’s have rekindled their Play-off ambitions.

Make no mistake prior to the Morecambe game things looked all over, but a point at the Globe, three points against Stevenage at the Lamex and a much-needed victory at home to the then league leaders Luton Town has transformed our season. The Luton game especially was a brilliant result.

With six more victories from 6 matches, the odds are still stacked against us, but the U’s have that magic word, momentum and with 6 cup finals against teams that will suddenly be wondering about our upturn in fortunes, who knows.

Easter Monday sees the U’s play at the new Lawn for the very first time. Forget about the earlier result at fortress WHCS (or whatever it is going to be called next season) this will be an entirely different game.

Mark Cooper will be looking to build on their last game out, a 2-0 victory over the Stags and will be disappointed that their game at Huish Park was postponed on Good Friday.

Now Forest Green Rovers are known as the Green Devils and are a meat free Football Club. Perhaps they should be renamed the Vegans. Their larger than life Chairman Dale Vince has a dream to see them in the championship within 5 years in their new stadium Eco Park, which will be built entirely of wood. They even have a mow-bot to automatically cut the pitch which is organic grass free from fertiliser and pesticides. Rain water is harnessed to irrigate the land and flush the toilets. And no, you can’t get a pie or a pasty inside the ground, unless it is Quorn!

Anyway, enough of the environment for now. JM will be bringing his resurgent U’s to look to make it another Away victory on Monday at the New Lawn.

Forest Green A
Accrington H
Notts Co H
Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

The table:

Accrington 38 77
Luton 40 74
Wycombe 40 71
Notts Co 40 67
Exeter 39 66
Coventry 39 65
Lincoln 39 64
Mansfield 39 63
Swindon 39 61
Carlisle 40 60
COL U 40 58

There appears to be a doubt about Tom Lapslie (Marmite), who either was overcome by the unfortunate and accidental injury to Luke Berry on Friday or has tweaked a hamstring. Brennan Dickenson was also substituted with a suspected injury.

If either or both are out on Monday, then Brandon Comley and Courtney Senior will play instead.

Of course, if JM can play an unchanged team then so much the better.

Team: 4,4,2

Walker

Jackson Eastman Prosser Vincent-Young

Wright Lapslie* Stevenson Dickenson**

Szmodics Mandron

Subs:

Barnes Kent Comley* Murray Senior** Mandeville Junior

*Potential starters in case of injury concerns.

Eastman and Prosser are colossi at the back and Ben Stevenson is different class. We owe it to him to make the Play Offs, because he could really shine at Wembley. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is plenty of football still to be played as they say.

Of course, there are other games on Monday and whilst it is up to us to win all our games without exception, the other contenders can do damage to each other’s opportunities along the way:

Accrington v Notts Co
Carlisle v Lincoln
Coventry v Yeovil
Crawley v Swindon
Exeter v Cheltenham
Luton v Mansfield
Wycombe v Grimsby

The weather at Nailsworth on Monday is set to be 10 degrees Celsius with light rain.

A warning to the faithful, the West Terrace is uncovered and will house the Super U’s supporters.

I have to say that I am relishing the match and look forward to seeing the U’s win on Monday.

Safe journey to the travelling supporters. Looking forward to seeing you Wessex.

Enjoy the game.

Happy Easter

Up the U’s

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I suppose there are two sides to every story!
at 18:47 28 Mar 2018

From the Construction Index......

Bitter end to Weston's football sponsorship

House-builder Bob Weston has been left shocked and saddened after being dumped as main sponsor by Colchester United Football Club.

Weston Homes has been Colchester United’s main sponsor for 10 years, with its name on the players' shirts and the club's Weston Homes Community Stadium. The company has provided the club with £1.5m over the years.

Now the club has unilaterally decided not to renew the deal at the end of the current season – without even consulting the sponsor.

Weston Homes said it would have happily negotiated another 10-year sponsorship package but is bitter that it was not offered the opportunity.

A spokesperson for Weston Homes said: “It is really sad and shocking the way this partnership has ended, and it has really upset our chairman & CEO Bob Weston that the club has chosen to end the deal and then abruptly announced their decision publicly without prior consultation with the house builder. Weston Homes has been extremely loyal to Colchester United and supported the club in so many ways over the last decade, so this has been deeply distressing. It’s a sad ending to what has otherwise been a fantastic partnership.”

But while Weston Homes described the split as acrimonious, the club says they are parting “on extremely good terms”.

Colchester United said: “We would like to express our thanks and gratitude for Weston Homes for their fantastic support over the past 10 years. It has been a hugely successful partnership over the past decade and is one of the longest in the club’s history.
“Weston Homes’ support has allowed Colchester United to establish the stadium as a key community hub and their backing both as title sponsor and at individual events has allowed us to create many special stories together since the venue opened in 2008.
“Hundreds of thousands visit the stadium each year and Weston Homes name has been synonymous with the successes we have enjoyed in our first 10 years at our new home.”

Up the U's
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Hatters to be topped by Super U's at Fortress Weston
at 09:22 28 Mar 2018

The Super U’s entertain Luton Town on Good Friday in front of an anticipated bumper crowd (6,000+) including 1800 Hatters supporters.

Luton currently sit top of the league, but Accrington Stanley (with Billy Kee) have two games in hand. Nevertheless, they have Danny Hylton (who has recently become accustomed to kissing babies and including them in his goal celebrations) who has amassed 18 goals this season. There is also a smattering of ex Col U talent including Mick Harford as Development officer. Nathan Jones and Joaquin Gomez respectively manage and coach the Bedfordshire outfit.

Anyway, enough of the Hatters. Friday is all about Colchester United. The weekend’s much needed victory against Stevenage Borough has rekindled our Play Off hopes and we only now need the seven victories to definitely secure seventh spot in the league.

The good news is that we have to play 6 of the top sides in the league, so there is no need for complacency in these “Cup Finals”. Equally there is no additional need for motivation, the size of the prize is there for everyone to see.

Luton H
Forest Green A
Accrington H
Notts Co H
Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

Now earlier in the season we were well beaten at Kenilworth Road and so apart from revenge on Friday it would be morale boosting to secure three more vital points. After all we have nothing to lose in our quest for that seventh place. And it would be good to make the Hatters mad.

It is all about momentum at this stage and there is always one club that finishes strongly enough to upset the others. Last season that team was Blackpool, who crept into the play offs and overcame Luton on their way to Play Off success.

JM of course will have been much heartened by that important victory at the Lamex and Mikael Mandron’s very well taken goal, although it was his brilliant run into the box that created the opportunity. Spatial awareness has been his strength, but now that he has reached double figures, it would be nice for him to finish with at least 15 goals this season.

I do not intend to comment further on the Kurtis Guthrie situation, that is now a dead duck and the train has well and truly left the station to mix metaphors.

JM must however decide that he is going to finally play a settled team and he appears to have reverted to a 4,4,2 formation. If that is the case, then the following starting XI is recommended:

Walker

Jackson Eastman Prosser Vincent-Young

Wright Lapslie Stevenson Dickenson

Szmodics Mandron

Subs:

Barnes Kent Senior Murray Comley Mandeville Ogedi-Uzokwe

Friday’s weather in Colchester is scheduled to be 8 degrees Celsius with some light rain. The pitch should be in decent condition and the majority of the crowd will be keen to see a home victory.

The faithful must roar them on to a famous win and then dare to dream.

League table:

Luton 39 74
Accrington 37 74
Wycombe 39 70
Notts Co 39 66
Exeter 38 66
Coventry 38 64
Mansfield 38 63
Lincoln 38 61
Swindon 38 60
Carlisle 39 57
COLCHESTER 39 55

Can the Super U’s keep the promotion dream alive?

All I can say is - get your popcorn ready, cause its gonna be a show!

Enjoy the game

Up the U’s

[Post edited 28 Mar 18:54]
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Maamria Mia - the winner takes it all today at the Lamex
at 09:22 24 Mar 2018

After the latest woeful display on Tuesday evening JM takes his seriously confidence bereft charges to the Lamex to take on Stevenage Borough, now managed by Dino Maamria.

The matches left this season have reached the stage where only the maximum 8 victories from 8 games will do for the U’s. Sadly, the spectacular way in which we have imploded since THAT victory against Coventry has left everyone totally shell shocked.

JM proved on Tuesday evening that he is unsure of his best XI, fails to make telling substitutions in sufficient time, but incredibly still receives support from the faithful. At the final whistle I heard not one dissenting voice or call for his removal. He also walked over to acknowledge the supporters, albeit wearing the expression of a rabbit caught in the headlights of a Reliant Robin.

Today we take on one of the sides against whom we enjoy a decent record. Stevenage are also unlikely to see Matty Godden return but they do have Alex Revell and Dean Bowditch in their ranks.

Now the situation is crystal clear for the U’s nothing less than a victory will do. Forget the unlikely scenario of the eight victories, we are playing for pride and hopefully in these last eight games the opportunity to show the opposition that we could have been up in the top seven elite had it not been for a series of long term injuries to key players (Prosser, Dickenson, Guthrie and Loft to name only some).

Now Kurtis Guthrie has been the fall guy since returning form injury. He has cut a forlorn figure since his return and his form has been poor, attitude worse and has publicly fallen out with JM. I would however like to see him play before the end of the season because we are in a position where we have mustered only 46 goals in 38 games and that is the reason why we will not be participating in the Play Offs this season.

Memories fade but it was Guthrie who singlehandedly forced changes in the U’s ranks last season after the Yeovil debacle at Huish Park. Guthrie has the ability to play in League Two and to score goals. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I happen to believe that all is not lost with him and he needs to be offered the chance to finish the season.

Colin Garwood was a similar character to Guthrie, great goal scorer (the equaliser against Derby in the 99th minute at Layer Road brought the house down), but he too had a poor attitude and famously stated that he had played his last game for the club before being transferred out.

So, an olive branch needs to be extended to Guthrie and he should pull on the famous blue and white jersey or luminous green one, particularly at the New Lawn at Easter time.

Those doubters need only look at the stats recently and consider that no striker has scored in the last 5 games and only Brandon Comley whose excellent strike at Mansfield is the only goal mustered during that period.

These are grim times to be a Colchester supporter. Another season in the basement league beckons with next season looking to be a very poor-quality footballing league (have a look at who is coming down and who is joining from the National League).


Anyway, time for JM to take some positive pills and go for broke. If fit Frankie Kent should return and let’s try 3,4,3 with the following personnel.

Walker

Eastman Prosser Kent

Vincent-Young Comley Stevenson Dickenson

Senior Mandron Ogedi-Uzokwe

Subs:

Subs:
Barnes Jackson Rooney Shodipo Szmodics Murray Wright

Luke Prosser, Kane Vincent-Young, Brennan Dickenson, Courtney Senior, Ben Stevenson and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe should already be pencilled in, with Mikael Mandron to be played with support from Junior up front.

If Ben Stevenson doesn’t start, then JM should be despatched to the Gulag as a crime against football, it’s that simple.

The supporters; long suffering and loyal deserve much better. They want to see passion, commitment, desire and belief. All of which was lacking from all bar three players on Tuesday at Morecambe.

No team has an automatic right to promotion but in a league where quality is at a premium, our lamentable form and results have shocked many. On Tuesday I was embarrassed not least because we have clearly regressed since last season but mainly because it was another game that I have failed to witness a U’s victory.

Weather in Stevenage will be a mild 10 degrees Celsius and the chance of some rain.

The Cup Finals:
Stevenage A
Luton H
Forest Green A
Accrington H
Notts Co H
Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

By 4.50pm I will be either dreaming that the 8 victories, however unlikely can be achieved or will be able to at last face the stark reality that our season, with one sixth still to play, is well and truly over.

Safe journey to the travelling faithful.

Up the U’s

[Post edited 24 Mar 9:42]
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Morecambe 0 v Super U's 0 enough said....Durham
at 20:33 21 Mar 2018

John Cleese famously stated “It’s not the despair, I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”

That quote from the classic Clockwise 1986 film encapsulates exactly what it is like to be a Colchester United supporter.

I would like to dedicate my thoughts on last night’s game to the 52, who like me suffered for 94 minutes in the cold of the Globe Arena.

Now the evening had started well, a good journey down the M6, off at Junction 35 and a pleasant drive along the A5105 in the Sunshine, through Carnforth (a brief encounter!) along by Bolton le Sands and then a splendid view across Morecambe Bay along Marine Drive. I had taken a friend who actually supports Plymouth Argyle (the Green Army) and who accompanied me last season to the 0-0 draw at the WHCS.

Destination was Atkinson’s Fish “n “Chips shop in Albert Road Morecambe (about 0.7 mile from the Ground). The special was a large Haddock and Chips with bread and butter, a pot of Earl Grey tea for £7.50. Very impressive and enjoyable, the fish was lovely and white in crisp batter with a healthy portion of chips and brown and white bread and butter.

A short drive to the Globe Arena and the car park at Westgate Primary School about 5-minute walk to the stadium. £4 for safe, secure parking and all proceeds ploughed back into the School for the benefit of the pupils. Very good.

So far so good. The 68-page programme offered good value for money, with contributions from Manager Jim Bentley (whose stature resembles that of a night club bouncer) and club captain Michael Rose (and former U’s player). Now the only problem is that the programme notes were clearly penned after their win at Wycombe Wanderers on 24 February and had not been updated to take in their games at Accrington, Crawley and against Exeter. The price of a postponed match I suppose. In some ways of course, it would have been beneficial to the U’s if we had been able to wind back the clock some four games!

The temperature was dropping fast, and the wind was quite keen, but it was dry and the pitch although bumpy had a little more grass on than when I went towards the end of last season.

Clearly JM doesn’t occupy his time reading my outpourings (ed: why would he!) because the U’s lined up thus:

Walker

Jackson Eastman Prosser Vincent-Young

Wright Comley Lapslie Szmodics Dickenson

Mandron

Subs:

Barnes Shodipo Murray Rooney Mandeville Stevenson Senior

I had recommended the following side in my preamble:

Walker
Eastman Prosser Kent
Vincent-Young Comley Stevenson
Senior Mandron Ogedi-Uzokwe Dickenson

More of that later.

The attendance was a meagre 893 (eight hundred and ninety-three) of which 52 (fifty-two) supporters were cheering on the U’s. The stattos were to inform me later that this was the fourth lowest attendance ever to watch the U’s in a competitive match. I would also question the word competitive!

The 52 were very vocal and supportive throughout and largely a credit to the football club. I say largely because the lone Colchester flag behind the goal stated, “In Cowling we trust.”

Now given that this was a match that the U’s had to win, JM had set up a 4,5,1 with Mandron cutting a loan isolated figure up front. Worse still when we defended a corner or free kick, we always had eleven players behind the ball with no outlet for any counter attacking.

Now despite their recent performances the Shrimps are a very poor team and they offered no threat going forward, the problem is neither did we. Frankie Kent had been due to start the match, but the knee injury sustained against Yeovil ruled him out and Tom Eastman played instead.

The closest that we came to a goal in the first half was when Winnard for Morecambe headed the ball backwards and against his own cross bar with keeper Roche beaten.

Just on half time Sam Walker was called upon to make a double save, first from McGurk and then he quickly recovered to palm Thompson’s shot around the post.

A long stoppage of 4 minutes for an innocuous challenge on the Morecambe midfielder led to only 2 additional minutes being added on.

Half time brought the opportunity for a hot chocolate, which at £1.80 was reasonably priced and steaming hot.

So, second half and no changes, but at least the team were “attacking” the corner where we were gathered. The stand out performers for Colchester for Luke Prosser who only lost out once in a headed duel all night and otherwise was imperious and Kane Vincent-Young. Drey Wright had the best game for the U’s that I have seen this season but still with no end product.

Our best chance second half fell to a Brennan Dickenson direct free kick taken from just in front of where we were sitting. He swung the ball in at pace and it evaded everyone and was heading for the far post when Roche clawed it away.

Still JM did not show any degree of urgency and no players were seen warming up, until a bizarre incident when JM wrestled with the Morecambe right full back who refused to give the ball back to us quickly enough. This prompted vitriol from the faithful aimed at the Shrimp. The ineffectual officials did nothing.

The calls for changes from the faithful grew in intensity but nothing was forthcoming until the 79th minute when Ben Stevenson replaced Comley. The totally ineffectual Szmodics was replaced by Courtney Senior after 84 minutes and the frozen-out Brennan Dickenson was also replaced on 84 minutes by Sean Murray.

Now Stevenson and Senior should have both played from the start. Yes of course it is easy to opine that after the game, but I had included both in my suggested line up the day before.

Senior is quick, pacy and skilful and made more attacking forward runs in the 6 minutes that he was on the field than others had achieved in the previous 80. Likewise, Ben Stevenson who is such a talented footballer and will grace the Premier League next season for Wolves. Why JM doesn’t play him is absolutely beyond me. He displays an ability beyond his tender years and he opens up defence with simple and accurate passes.

Where Junior is I have no clue, but he also seems to have been consigned to the Macca Bonne school of warming the bench by our illustrious manager.

Sean Murray unfortunately has never been the same player since his injury and he added nothing to the attacking intent in the last six minutes.

I would rather have seen the QPR loanee Shodipo given a run out.

Mandron managed one shot in the 94th minute and it went high wide and not very handsome to the right of the goal.

I felt genuinely sorry for some of the players at the full-time whistle. Walker, Prosser, Eastman, Vincent-Young, Senior and Stevenson had all tried hard, but the team has never in my view been so low on confidence and ineffectual generally.

Kurtis Guthrie is a shadow of his former self and clearly on his way out of the club. We will of course see him banging in the goals next season for Pompey or someone similar, but he doesn’t want to play for JM or Colchester.

Mikael Mandron is an enigma. He has scored some goals and notably the winner against Coventry but to quote Mike Bassett’s assistant manager “he couldn’t hit the side of a Renault Espace.”

Here’s the real kicker, we have 8 games to play and victory in all of them will secure a top seven spot. But even if I polished up my rose-tinted specs there is no chance of that happening. Where is my medication!

Worse still we have most of the top six team in the league to play:

Stevenage A
Luton H
Forest Green A
Accrington H
Notts Co H
Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

Even worse with my unenviable three-year spectating winless record still intact I am planning to go to three of them! Surely things can only get better.

If we are to achieve any more victories this season JM must abandon his ultra-defensive tactics. 4,5,1 with everyone behind the ball for corners and free kicks which is beyond stupid when we need to pressure the opposition.

Grim times indeed.

Up the U’s


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Super U's to pot those Shrimps at the Globe tonight
at 10:56 20 Mar 2018

JM takes his shattered charges to the Globe Arena this evening to take on the Shrimps of Morecambe. The Bard enjoyed the Globe and penned all the world's a stage in his play As You like It. Well if the world is a stage and life is a play then the U's need to Play up and Play the game.

Frankly things couldn’t get much worse for the U’s at present. Here’s the irony though the target still remains at 24 points from the remaining games. So mathematically we still have a chance (albeit ultra slim) of securing the 75 points, but let’s be totally honest unless JM is prepared to play his best team, we have no chance whatsoever of challenging for the top seven, rather we will closer to the bottom seven.

Jim Bentley will be purring after his Shrimps devoured the Grecians on Saturday. They also play at home to Lincoln on Saturday and so Bentley will be looking for back to back home success tonight against this lack lustre Colchester side who are largely now playing for pride.

We are advancing backwards big style with an awful run since THAT win against Coventry, when I thought that we would be nailed on for the top seven. We have regressed since last season and frankly have not looked the part for much of the current campaign.

Given that our home record had improved so much I was incensed to read that JM was looking forward to playing Away because the WHCS was putting too much pressure on the team. What tosh that is.

JM needs to play his best team every game and stop this almost sycophantic approach to players like Drey Wright who seems to be able to play abysmally and still be picked for the next game. Although we could lose a number of our best players in the Summer, Wright will still be there in August. He has lost pace, an inability to take on and beat defenders and JM constantly plays him out of position. Is that down to Wright or has JM played the football and confidence out of him?

Stevenson sadly is the Luke Shaw of Colchester. A very talented youngster who will be playing for Wolves in the top division next year, yet JM doesn’t play him. JM says that he doesn’t want to over play Dickenson but then he is injured in training (was Emile Heskey training with the squad I wonder).

Yes, I’m angry, no make that very angry. The fans deserve better than the dross served up at present. I am seething when I see the results and the defeats to teams that must be laughing at our plight. Crewe, Barnet and Yeovil, sorry but it is a joke to be continually losing to such teams. But maybe we are just as bad. After all we cannot finish the chances being created and then concede sloppy goals.

Fortunately, 51 points is on the board which means that we cannot suffer the ignominy of relegation, but we are likely to lose Walker, Prosser, Vincent-Young, Guthrie, and Dickenson this summer plus of course all the loanees.

JM now has nothing to lose, let us see some fight, passion, commitment and enthusiasm from the team tonight in Lancashire.

I would love to see JM play the following side in a 3,3,4 formation:

Walker

Eastman Prosser Kent

Vincent-Young Comley Stevenson

Senior Mandron Ogedi-Uzokwe Dickenson

Subs:
Barnes Jackson Rooney Shodipo Szmodics Murray Wright

Take the fight to the opposition, play without fear and let’s see what they can achieve.

Nine games 27 points, perhaps with some of the top six to play we might fare better.

JM must get rid of his siege mentality because we are always better playing forward and looking to win rather than eking out a point here or there.

Morecambe A
Stevenage A
Luton H
Forest Green A
Accrington H
Notts Co H
Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

Given that we have to win 8 from 9 as things stand let’s give it a real go and attack, attack, attack, attack, attack!

I actually feel marginally better having got some of this anger off my chest, but can we play with resolve tonight and some belief which appears to have dissipated since Christmas.

Morecambe weather is looking to be dry and bright today with 3 degrees Celsius tonight and continuing dry. The pitch will be bumpy because the surface wasn’t great last season when the two points dropped that afternoon ultimately cost us seventh spot.

Can tonight kick start the most unlikely of revivals for the U’s to take to Stevenage Borough on Saturday.

Safe journey to the travelling faithful.

Up the U’s

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